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They say it's not rocket science. But sometimes it is.

This morning NASA flew a helicopter on Mars. Well, more like a big drone, but it is still impressive. Mars is currently about 180 million miles away. Took a rocket to get it there. So everything about that most definitely IS rocket science.

Took huge teams of very smart people working very hard over the course of years with a $2.8B budget to make a thing like that happen.

I'm captivated by efforts and accomplishments like this. But you know what my almost immediately subsequent thought when I hear about them is?

"Better you than me."

I'm no rocket scientist. I have neither the talents, training, intelligence, nor the inclination to be a part of such a project. I'm content to teach people how to scuba dive.

And scuba diving, no mistake, is not rocket science. When it comes right down to it, stripped of all the pomp and circumstance, diving performed at any level - from a 30' bob along a reef, to some sort of 300' deep cave exploration - is simply floating along looking at cool shit.

When I was first training as an instructor there was another instructor candidate at my shop that was always assigning students into A squad and B squad. There was always a mission briefing for the dive. And I'd quietly stand there, not stepping on his toes or undermining his authority... and watching the looks of intimidation and trepidation in his students' faces. It was fucking bonkers.

I'm sure you've seen them, too. The tech divers who feel like they need to justify the expense of all the shit they've got strapped to them by attaching some sort of gravitas to the whole exercise. The folks for whom the sheer exuberance of diving has given way to executing objectives.

Fuckin weird, innit?

Don't get me wrong: I perform the exact same pre-dive brief before every dive. I see enormous value in short, informal debriefs at the end of each dive. We are going into an alien environment with varying levels of risk which needs to be respected and mitigated.

But we're doing it because it's supposed to be fun. No goals. No points system. No competition whatsoever. I dive because I love diving. I teach because I love sharing the activity and the environment with people. I do it as a full-time profession because I don't really see the point in flying a helicopter on Mars.

Because I very honestly think it's far more worthwhile spending a life doing something frivolous which gives me and the people around me joy.

----------------- Rene - "I think about how those people are out there everyday, making a difference, leading big lives, and how they refuse to be intimidated by the tremendous odds of failure they face; how they only concern themselves with peers and company that apply to their goals and noble causes." Brodie - "Jesus, I'd hate to tell you what I think about in the bathroom. "

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Apr 26, 2021

Diving is a science made possible by academics like Buhlmann, Haldane, and many others. My idea of training a novice is to place them in two groups, those with a water-sports background, those with none.

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